Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Big Wreck on I-40


Up to 50 cars involved in I-40 wrecks; one person injured

It appears to be on I-40 East, from Charlotte towards Raleigh. Does anyone have more information?

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Astro-spammers


Apparently, PR firms are now paying people to work at home and post comments on blogs on one or the other side of a particular issue, net-neutrality at this particular moment. Beware. Delete. Report.

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Obligatory Readings of the Day


Curriculum is Dead
and
Curriculum is Dead — Teacher as Tour Guide:
My point? I’m getting tired of hearing people continue to ask for the evidence that technology helps students learn. It doesn’t matter. We know — that good teachers help students learn. We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.

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New York City trip - Part II: Bryant Park


Thursday, May 25th.

Morning

So, we safely landed on La Guardia. We took a cab ride from the airport to the hotel. If you drive in North Carolina for a few years, getting into NYC traffic is quite a culture shock. It reminds me of the way people in Belgrade drive: fast and aggressive, yet very confident. While in NC everyone expects everyone to follow the traffic rules, thus keeping everyone safe, in big cities like NYC it's all psychology - people watch each other, communicate with each other using eyes, gestures, turning-lights and horns and, second-by-second negotiate who goes where and who goes there first.

After leaving our bags at the hotel (Rennaissance on Times Square - the one with the big clock: our room was right above the clock - you can click on all images to see them large), we went for a little walk around Times Square and then went to Bryant Park to meet my brother and his wife. We got there a little early and they were running a little late, so we had time to stroll around the park, to admire the building of the New York Public Library and the monument to Gertrude Stein that looks like a female Buddha, to eat a pretzel, and to start soaking in the atmosphere of New York.

It was great seeing my brother again after three years. While he was a grad student in Chicago, he used to come and see us every year. When he moved away to Portland, OR, to teach at Reed college, he became poor so he managed to show up only once. Now that he got a tenure-track position in Edmonton, Alberta, he'll be even farther away, but on the other hand, he'll be less poor, so perhaps we'll get to see him more. He is, after all, my kids' favouritest Uncle.

It was even greater to finally meet his wife! After so much time chatting (and becoming friends) over the phone and over e-mail, it was great to finally meet her in person. She is so precious. My brother did well, very well. They are so cute together.


Why did we decide to meet at Bryant Park? Well, there is certainly significance to that place! As we were frolicking on the lawn there, we were watching a courtship dance of a pair of pigeons. Those birds are likely there because their ancestors, decades ago, were well fed and taken care of by the Genius himself - the great Nikola Tesla. He came to Bryant Park every day and fed the pigeons according to a particular menu that he devised. See the picture of the recipe:
I found this wonderful painting of Tesla and his feathered friends:
This is, in part, what the artist wrote about it:
"These Are My Friends is focused on the curious relationship Tesla shared with the pigeons in the parks that surrounded his home in New York. Later in life, particulary in his mid-sixties and on, he could be found frequently alone on walks feeding the birds and spending time near them. He often took injured birds back to heal at the hotel room in which he lived; when he could keep no more birds there, he recruited a local bird shop to help him in his efforts. Under his care, birds recovered from diseased wings, broken legs, and supposedly at least one of gangrene. When he encountered birds he could not treat himself, he would enlist the help of a physician. If for some reason he was unable to visit the park where he most often fed the birds, he would hire a Western Union messenger to take care of the task for him."
The painting has been sold, but if you like it you can still get various paraphernalia, like T-shirts and mugs with this image on them.

The place was not the only significant thing about the meeting - it was also the time. The date - May 25th - used to be refered to as Youth Day back in old Yugoslavia. It was officially Tito's birthday. A Baton of Youth was passed from hand to hand, traversing all around Yugoslavia, finally arriving at the Partisan stadium on the evening of May 25th where it was presented to Tito as a birthday present as a finale of a colorful athletic display by young people in unforms of various colors forming various revolutionary images with thousands of their bodies, all of this followed by huge fireworks. All the batons he received over the decades have been deposited in the Museum of 25th Of May in Belgrade (the same place where the few remaining die-hard followers of Milosevic paid their last respect to him a couple of months ago).

So, this was the time for the last exchange of the baton. This whole trip is in a way a 40th birthday present to me - I told everyone not to give me presents but to donate to the travel fund, which they did and made the trip possible. Thus, the Personality Cult of me, Coturnix, is going strong, years after Tito's died out.

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She asked for it...


Woman Hit By Lightning While Praying in Storm

Well, she talked to God and God talked back: "Woman! Stop nagging!"

What more can one ask for?

The poll, as it currently stands:

What do you make of this story?
It's just a coincidence38%
Who knows?31%
It's divine intervention31%

posted by coturnix @ 7:20 AM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Godiva is not just naked chocolate


According to durable, if perhaps not reliable, tradition, the lady Godgyfu made public protest against the tax policies of her husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia, on this day in 1057. She begged her husband to repeal an onerous tax, saying that those who paid it would surely starve as a result. He replied that if she, a righteous woman, would ride naked through the town he would repeal the tax. The residents were commanded to shut themselves in their houses, and the lady rode through town. Only one, the original Peeping Tom, was said to peek. Her name was later Latinized, we spell it Godiva.

Whatever the reasons, I enjoyed being nude; it felt natural to me. I got the same kind of pleasure from being free of clothing that many people get from being well dressed.
- Charis Wilson

If you use your imagination, you can look at any actress and see her nude. I hope to make you use your imagination.
- Hedy Lamarr, 1913 - 2000

In nakedness I behold the majesty of the essential instead of the trappings of pretension.
- Horatio Greenough, 1805 - 1852

Bare skin is the one and only right criterion for receiving water's gracious acceptance or any acceptance whatsoever from that element. But Pliny also seems to say something more: Stripping off not caution but the stale, crusty garments of preconception, peeling sensibly down to raw, new nakedness, is the only way to enter and be properly embraced by the world.
- Janet Lembke, Skinny Dipping

I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.
- Otto von Bismarck, 1815 - 1898

From Quotes Of The Day

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Obligatory Readings of the Day


Media Matters: The defining issue of our time is the media.

Children's Acceptance of Testimony About the Spiritual and the Scientific

Motherhood Discrimination

Jesus is a capitalist tool

Six Flags over Jesus

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New York City trip - Part I: Fear of Flying


OK, so here is the first part of a brief (yeah, right - brief...me?) serialized summary of the New York City trip with going off on tangents and everything else that blog-posts are supposed to do.

Thursday, May 25th.

The Flight or Fright syndrome

I have not been on an airplane since 2000 and, as you know, everything changed on 9/11, especially for the cowards and for the "it can't happen in America" crowd who could not see it coming.

As a kid, I used to fly a lot - at least a couple of times a year, on old chubby Caravellas, the brand new DC-9s and once even on an ancient propeller-driven Convair (we had to hold our suitcases on our laps since there is no baggage hold on that plane). I always loved flying and had great fun.

Then, as a teenager, I traveled mainly by train - the EuroRail pass is a great invention: for a relatively small amount of money you get a ticket which allows you to board any train anywhere and travel everywhere around Europe for a month or two during the summer. After a few years of that, when I got on an airplane again, I realized I was scared - I was old enough to realize and appreciate my own mortality and the knowledge of traffic fatality statistics did not do much to alleviate the irrational fear.

Since then, I flew only occasionally. In 1995 we went to Belgrade via Paris. This was a little gap in the sanctions so, apart from the white UN airplanes delivering food for refugees in Bosnia, there were only two, freshly installed flights into Belgrade (the other one from Vienna). So, the DC-9 from Paris to Belgrade did not have a regular slot at the boarding gate. We were shuttled on a bus to the airplane somewhere at the edge of the airport. Once we boarded, the pilot drove the airplane for about 20 minutes over roads and bridges, between the fields, to a distant landing strip which, apparently, was a tad bit short for a DC-9 so the pilot used the "Russian take-off" method - revving the angine to the max while holding the brake, then suddenly releasing the brake and we're off - straight up into the air! Having to fly around the still-dangerous skies of Croatia made the trip a little longer, but at least we could descend and fly at a very low altitude all the way from Hungary to Belgrade, watching the houses, people and fields of the Vojvodina plain, then recognizing the buildings of Belgrade as we approached the airport. That wild ride did not do much to alleviate my fear.

In 1999, I went to two conferences in a row - one in Washington DC, the other in Oxford, UK. On my way back from England I had to go via DC again. The airplane from DC to Raleigh was a tiny little propeller-engine thingie with hard wooden seats. I was the only one awake, as the Fort Brag marines on the flight promptly fell asleep even before the take-off. What was scary about it was that we were flying straight into hurricane Dennis, so the airplane was being tossed around and I was watching endless lightnings hit the wing on my side. Needless to say, that flight did not do much to boost my confidence.

In 2000 I went to Chicago and that was a really nice pair of flights that helped me a little bit. This flight, last week to and from NYC, helped me again. I was still nervous during take-off, but once we were up in the air, I had fun looking around and trying to figure out "where are we now", as well as watching the NYC landmarks as we approached. I actually enjoyed the landings, especially the one at La Guardia, where you fly low over water and once you finally get to the dry land your wheels are already touching the ground. That made my wife nervous - she'd like to see where she's landing, but she took to heart what I told her: if you can see the landing strip just before landing, you are in deep trouble - it should be straight ahead, visible only to the pilot.

Kids liked the flying, I think, especially on the way back when it was already "old stuff" for them. Coturnix Jr. flew with us to Belgrade when he was 2 years old and does not really remember it. This was the first time for Coturnietta. They did not mind taking their shoes off at security because they never experienced the airports before 9/11. On the way there, the security guy swabbed the inside of one of our backpacks with a little piece of paper. Apparently, that is a test for explosives - I think the paper gets warm if it detects traces of explosives. Does anyone know how that really works? I asked the security guy, but he is just an employee - he had no idea about the underlying science of the test.

Why is there security check on the way OUT of La Guardia? Aren't the supposed terrorists going to try to get INTO New York City instead? Shouldn't they do a security check on people flying into NYC? Ah, I forgot, this was designed by the Department of Homeland Security, the most inept bureacracy in the History Of The World, ran by the most inept members of the most inept political party running the most inept Administration in the History Of The World. And, by the way, RDU airport is so nice, clean and pleasant compared to almost any airport I've seen in my life.

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Spineless Mystery


Whodidit? You'll have to find out by yourself by checking out the brand new, 9th edition of the Circus of the Spineless on Burning Silo.

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Educarnivals


The 69th Edition of the Carnival of Education is up on Education in Texas
The 22nd edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up on Common Room.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Al Gore on Fresh Air


Al Gore is, right now, being interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air (I am assuming a podcast will be posted shortly) about global warming, the 2000 election, his movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and the book of the same title.

He is VERY good so far! He rightly chastised the news media for the he-said-she-said style of reporting and has just equated the global warming deniers with Flat Earthers!

From some of his answers, I gather he must have read Chris Mooney's book as well (the apparently heavily updated paperback edition of which is in the works).

Addendum: If you are in Houston, TX on June 22nd, you can go and see Chris Mooney in person.

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More Seedling Stars


A few more bloggers have announced their impending move to SEED scienceblogs since I last wrote about it here.

These include some of my favourites, like Scientific Activist, Terra Sigillata, Chaotic Utopia and Island Of Doubt.

I know of a couple of others who have not announced publically yet, so I'll keep the secret for the next three days, until June 2nd, this Friday, when about 25 new blogs are starting over there, at the same time when SEED unveils its new webpage design.

Update: I have just noticed that Discovering biology in a digital world, Good Math Bad Math and Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge also announced the move. I know of three more who are still keeping it secret. Anyone else?




posted by coturnix @ 1:12 PM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Carnival of the Liberals - call for submissions



Want this badge?
Next edition of the Carnival of the Liberals will be hosted by Expert Opinion on June 7th, so write something good and liberal and send it in soon.

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Godless Green Rounds


Grand Rounds 2.36 is up on Kidney Notes.
Carnival of the Green #29 is up on Animal Broadcast Network.
Carnival of the Godless #41 is up on Frank the Financially Savvy Atheist (The F.S.A.).

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Exhausted and Exhilarated


The trip was fantastic! I'll blog about it over the next few days.

I have to go to sleep now (after checking 75 e-mails), and tomorrow I have to make an exam, prepare a ledture, then go in the evening and give the exam and the lecture, so blogging will resume at its normal pace on Tuesday.

To hold you over until then, visit these three great carnivals:

Memorial Day Edition of the Tar Heel Tavern (#66) is up on Poetic Acceptance.

The False Skeptico guest-hosts the Skeptic's Circle #35 on the haunts of the Real Skeptico.

And an unbeatable edition of I And The Bird (#24) is up on Rigor Vitae - you just have to see it to believe it!

posted by coturnix @ 11:07 PM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

First, we take Manhattan...


Note: moved to the top so you do not worry why I'm not blogging for four days.

So, we managed to put some money together and we ARE going to New York City after all.

I have to thank all my readers who hit the PayPal button for being part of this. In order to get a cheaper, weekend rate, we had to extend out trip to four days, arriving on Thursday (May 25th) early in the morning and leaving on Sunday night. So, there is plenty of time to do stuff.

Thursday is pretty much reserved for family time with my brother and his wife. Their art project is part of the Seventh National Juried Exhibition at Ceres Gallery, so we'll be at the opening on Thursday evening - you can meet me there and then if you wish.

Another thing that is an abolute must - and Coturnix Jr. and I have ganged up on the others to make sure it happens - is to see the Darwin exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. I just learned that it got extended - again - until August. It was supposed to close on May 29th. Either way, this was the only date we could go, so watch out, New York, here we come! You may want to e-mail me if you want to go together with us.

We have lots of ideas where else to go and what else to see, but we are still quite open, so tell me in the comments what is absolutely something NOT to miss while in NYC these days. I may not have consistent Internet access while there, but once I get back, I'll blog the whole experience at length and with plenty of pictures!

Oh, and I just realized that the last time I went anywhere on a plane was before 9/11. So, we'll have to go at an ungodly hour (which is fine with me, except that time is atrocious...) and I'll have to make sure that I am wearing decent socks...

Update: We are leaving tomorrow (Thursday) very early in the morning and coming back Sunday night. I will have no Internet (or even e-mail) access throughout the trip. If you need to contact me, do it immediatelly, or wait until Sunday night. Please keep the comment threads nice and decent while I am gone and don't feed the trolls! Enjoy the busy carnival weekend and the holidays!

posted by coturnix @ 9:12 PM | permalink | (4 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Framing of Immigration


By Lakoff:
Framing is at the center of the recent immigration debate. Simply framing it as about “immigration” has shaped its politics, defining what count as “problems” and constraining the debate to a narrow set of issues. The language is telling. The linguistic framing is remarkable: frames for illegal immigrant, illegal alien, illegals, undocumented workers, undocumented immigrants, guest workers, temporary workers, amnesty, and border security. These linguistic expressions are anything but neutral. Each framing defines the problem in its own way, and hence constrains the solutions needed to address that problem. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we will analyze the framing used in the public debate. Second, we suggest some alternative framing to highlight important concerns left out of the current debate. Our point is to show that the relevant issues go far beyond what is being discussed, and that acceptance of the current framing impoverishes the discussion.

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Avian Flu


Oh-oh! There may have been cases of human to human to human transmission already!

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I know circadian clocks are sexy...


...but if that is not what the study is testing, don't pretend it is: Eight Hours a Circadian Rhythm Do Not Make - my critique of a recent paper on effects of plant defense odors on the behavioral patterns of caterpillars.

posted by coturnix @ 11:58 AM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



From Waddington to Gould - they were right


One-Track Evolution:
When it comes to evolution, sometimes there's only one right way to do things. Biologists have discovered that, when forced to adapt to hotter and hotter conditions in the lab, a heat-loving bacteria evolves the same survival strategies time and time again. The findings indicate that genetic changes that allow organisms to cope with environmental challenges are not as random as researchers have thought.

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Advances in veterinary medicine (may have) saved Barbaro


State of the Art to Save Barbaro:

If Barbaro recovers and lives to enjoy the green pastures of a stud farm, it will be a result of advances in veterinary medicine that have increased the odds of survival for gravely injured racehorses, veterinarians said yesterday.

Those advances — better surgical techniques and anesthesia, implants to repair broken bones and new ways of delivering antibiotics — have not necessarily lessened the threat of serious leg injuries, like the broken leg and ankle bones that hobbled Barbaro moments after the Preakness began Saturday.

But Barbaro, this year's Kentucky Derby winner, had a promising first day of recovery yesterday. He rested comfortably at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., and was able to stand on his repaired right hind leg.

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Igniting Passion for Science in kids


Stan White is a hero:
Every student at 112th Street Elementary is poor enough to qualify for subsidized meals. Most of the students live in Nickerson Gardens, a housing project known for being violent and gang-infested. Many come from single-parent families or are in foster care. The school is 62% Latino and 38% African American, and more than half of the students are learning English as a second language.

Yet teachers and parents say the school has become a place where good things are happening.

Things like science.

posted by coturnix @ 9:42 AM | permalink | (3 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Hot And Cold



From today's Quotes Of The Day (a great thing to subscribe to), a sentiment I agree with. After fifteen years here, I still cannot think in Fahrenheits. While I manage somehow to use other kinds of measures belonging to the ancient, illogical system used locally (in the USA), Celsius is one I cannot shed ever:

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was born at Gdansk on this day in 1686. The Dutch physicist invented the alcohol thermometer in 1709 and the more reliable mercury thermometer in 1714, and developed the system of measuring heat that bears his name. Although I greatly prefer the more convenient Celsius scale, I'll honor the inventor with quotes on Hot and Cold.

Extreme cold when it first arrives seems to generate cheerfulness and sociability. For a few hours all life's dubious problems are dropped in favor of the clear and congenial task of keeping alive.
- Elwyn Brooks White, 1899 - 1985

It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.
- Franklin P. Jones

Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd all have frozen to death!
- Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

If the temperature in the bathtub is raised only one degree every ten minutes, how does the bather know when to start screaming?
- Marshall McLuhan, 1911 - 1980

To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can.
- Sydney Smith, 1771 - 1845

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
- William Butler Yeats, 1865 - 1939

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Carnivals


Carnival of the Liberals #13 is up on Lucky White Girl.

Carnival of Education #68 is up on NYC Educator.

I'll be out of town for the next four days, and with no access to the Internet, so I may not be able to immediatelly link to tomorrow's carnivals. Look up I And The Bird tomorrow on Rigor Vitae and Skeptic's Circle on Skeptico.

posted by coturnix @ 8:45 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Battle Cry


Read the discussions on the following blogs - but take a blood-thinner beforehand so your blood does not curdle:

Orcinus
Digby
Lapin on dKos
Pandagon
Counterpunch
Truthdig
WorldCan'tWait
WorldCan'tWait on dKos
Pharyngula
Rugouski

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Tangled Bank #54


The Tangled Bank

Welcome y'all (as we say here in the South, Serbian or not) to the Tangled Bank. Believe it or not this is a hat-trick (or a trifecta) for me - the third time hosting this carnival, the first and the last carnival on this blog.

This post, as it will be seen by many eyes, is also the best opportunity for me to make the grand announcement that, yes, I too have been swayed by the siren song of the SEED overlords, and will be starting a brand new Coturnix franchise over on ScienceBlogs.

In about ten days from now, try this link and it will take you to my new blog there. While Circadiana and The Magic School Bus will be closed (but not deleted), Science And Politics will continue as a purely local/political blog, waxing and waning in activity in sync with the electoral cycle.

All my ideas for a creative hosting of Tangled Bank fell through as the entries poured in over the last couple of hours before the deadline. My creative ideas all depended on the ability to classify the entries into several clearly defined categories, but that is impossible today as each post is quite unique. Long gone are the days when science blogging was a Dog-And-One-Trick-Pony-Show (mixing metaphors is my hobby, as are parentheses): 5 posts debunking Creationists, 5 posts debunking global warming deniers and 5 posts discussing the latest "hot" study as reported in the New York Times. Science Blogging has diversified and matured - there are many more bloggers, each writing what they know, what they like and how they like it, which makes me very happy even if I have to resort to a traditional non-creative format for today's carnival.

Thus, the entries are included (almost exactly) in the order I received them - something that has not been done on carnivals recently. There are no hidden "Editor's Choice" entries. So, now you'll know who the slackers are...and the biggest slacker is myself, writing a post of my own at the last minute, actually after the deadline.

So, let's start. I hope you enjoy the entries as much as I did while putting this Tangled Bank together:

Always Learning, of the Wandering Visitor blog, summarizes and adds a few thoughts of his own on the "March of the penguins" documentary in Nature's Formula: A Dash of Brilliance, An Ounce of Madness. I hear another penguin movie is coming out soon, in which cartoon penguins sing and dance the Numa-Numa Dance.

Joseph of Corpus Callosum provides valuable information about the Tenkile Conservation Alliance. Tenkile what? It has to do with kangaroos, but you'll have to click on the link to learn the rest.

Patrick Francis is freakishly strong. And he likes pie. But one day he broke down and wrote A Brief History of my On-going Love Affair With Science, to be found on Science Creative Quarterly. Read it carefully. You may recognize yourself in it. Oh, and btw, I always thought that Science was a real hottie.

The lengthening of photoperiod in spring stimulates the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in many people (I know from personal experience and introspection), but Sowmya of Shallow Thoughts to Profound Insights has a different response to the arrival of warm weather - the Allergies.

Hsien Hsien Lei of Genetics And Health wants to remind everyone that genetic testing is not inherently evil nor targeted at eliminating undesirable children: Not All Genetic Tests are Prenatal.

Burning Bush! Not any more, or so hopes Jennifer Forman Orth of Invasive Species Weblog in Live Free or Die Trying.

Reason of Fight Aging! blog appears to be getting younger and younger, and is pouring all that new youthfull energy into blogging. Check out the secret potion in Roundup on the Singularity Summit at Stanford, What Do Failing Stem Cells Contribute to Degenerative Aging?, Why We Need to Change the Approach to Aging and Rejuvenation Research, Volume 9 Number 2.

PZ Myers of Pharyngula wrote one of the best lines ever penned by a scientist: "Four of my favorite things are development, evolution, and breasts...". See how those four are snuggling together in Breast beginnings, totally safe for work.

CFeagans fixes a mean Hot Cup of Joe, good enough even for the discriminating taste of Bilbo Baggins: Homo floresiensis: New Species or Modern Human?

Douglas Galbi of Purple Motes is an engineer, economist and computer scientist. He says that Text messaging is unnatural. I agree. I'd rather carry a clay tablet with me or even a stone and chisel, than any kind of electronic hand-held device. But that is not what the post is about...

I like garlic. I like mustard. But I agree with Nuthatch of Bootstrap Analysis that those two do not go well together: Garlic mustard changes forests. And if you'd like to help out bird species that need helping instead of ubiqutous house sparrows, learn what to do to your birdhouse: Decorative bird houses: no, no, no!

Judging from the picture on the blog, Indian Cowboy (OK so he's not really a cowboy) appears to be fitter than me, that is, relatively fitter than me.....or inclusively fitter than me: Wasps, Dominance, and Eusociality. But my brother is stronger than his brother!

Martin Rundkvist of Salto sobrius wrote a more somber post, an obituary to a great scientist: Christian Lindqvist 1948-2006.

Diane Kelly of Zygote Games lives up North in the tick country, so a new paper on Lyme Disease brings out personal recollections as well as scientific analysis, in Ticks and Time.

Eva of Easternblot went to a really cool meeting with wacky science-related presentations, including two described in Ants and knitted proteins.

Nick Anthis is a Scientific Activist and he is voicing mild optimism as the Embryonic Stem Cell Bill May Finally Receive Vote in Senate. Another reason for potential optimism is that curbing global warming may not cost as much as the naysayers think: Get Rich Quick! (And Stop Global Warming in the Process).

Michael Stebbins of Sex Drugs and DNA Blog has more information on the politics of stem cells in Senator Frist to Make Stem Cell Bill Announcement!

The spring is here, the Sun is out, and the snakes and lizards are basking on rocks. Carel Brest van Kempen of Rigor Vitae paints the scene and writes about thermoregulation in "cold-blooded" animals in In Cold Blood.

Grrrlscientist of Living the Scientific Life often writes about the intersection between science and literature, but it is usually literature that touches on science. This time, it is the other way round: science touching on literature: Harry Potter Meets Paleontology.

Do you think of numbers as if they were on a number line? I do. But people's brains are funny sometimes. Dave Munger of Cognitive Daily shows how, when and why other people do it, in If you thought the Stroop Effect was cool, have I got an effect for you!

Lab Cat is a Food Science blog written by Cat, so prepare for a mouth-watering experience while reading Sweet tastes to sweet cat.

So, you think that there are twenty essential amino-acids? Is that what you learned in school? Well, think again, as Sandra Porter of Discovering biology in a digital world traces the discovery of the 21st (and that number is not final) in Part I: Future Shock and Selenocysteine and what practical problem this poses for researchers in Part II. Future Shock and Selenocysteine: it's time again to update the databanks.

Carbon Dioxide - we call it Life! James Hrynyshyn lives on the Island Of Doubt and gives us a run-down (and smack-down) in Twisting climate science.

Orac Knows Everything! So, by reading Respectful Insolence, you'll also get to know everything. This time, about the science of vitamin supplements and who does not like the results: Too much sciency-ness for the vitamin industry?

Tigtog of Hoyden-About-Town (aka TigTogBlog) debunks some seriously misleading statements cloaked in the rhetoric of science, repeatedly put forward by one side of the abortion wars: Fetal Brain Development: Myths and Disinformation.

Don't balk and run away just because there are formulas in this post! Read it carefully and I bet you'll get it just fine. Mark Chu-Carroll of Good Math, Bad Math takes a break from debunking Dembski's pseudomath and presents a whole series of posts on some really good math. The first post in the series is My Favorite Calculus: Lambda (part 1).

Steinn Sigurðsson, the Icelandic friend from Dynamics of Cats is following the smaller and smaller sizes of planets being discovered these days: Extrasolar Planets: step close to Earth.

Tara Smith of Aetiology has been on the roll lately, producing cool post after cool post every day. I have actually read and liked all these posts even before they were submitted and even mentioned some of the material from them when I was teaching a couple of days ago, so I was unable to cut down the number. Enjoy them all: Bazell says 'quit whining', Obesity and your microbes, Archaea as human pathogens? and Viruses vs. Superbugs.

Vaughan of Mind Hacks did some thorough digging on The curious case of Morgellons disease. Is it all in your head?

Mark Rayner of The Skwib, the master of double-entendres: Professor Quippy: Proto-Jungle Fever.

Michael White of Adaptive Complexity looks at the same study in a more serious tone in New ideas about human-chimp speciation - the power of comparative genomics

Josh Rosenau has many Thoughts From Kansas. Here are some samples for your enjoyment. On polar bears, grizzly bears, and the vagaries of systematics: Taxonomy tales. On the idea that should be shaken into more heads: An emerging answer to Seed's question. On what Merck's ad campaign about HPV and cervical cancer can teach us about educating the public about science: HPV vaccine. And on technology and the ways it helps us build bridges: Building bridges.

Charles Daney of Science and Reason wades through various confusing reports of recent research into the effects of fats in human diet, and our infatuation with food fads, in Fats and food fads.

Janet D. Stemwedel, aka Dr.Free-Ride of Adventures in Ethics and Science published more than she thought she did: The author unaware. Now go Google yourself.

John Wheaton of Wheat-dogg's world gives a comprehensive analysis of the Chernobyl explosion twenty years ago in The physics of a disaster.

Karl Mogel of Inoculated Mind went to see a talk by Nancy Pearcey, one of the Discovery Institute Fellows and what he heard was, at best, Half Truth.

Daniel Collins is Down To Earth and investigates something that is interesting to me and other people watching the Bosnian Pyramid fiasco - how nature makes strange shapes - in Life and landforms

Finally, I have been teaching introductory biology lately, thus blogging about it quite a lot, as you can see from Yet another teaching update. I also post summaries of my lectures and would particularly like feedback on the first unit, the one on the Scientific Method in Biology. I did find some extra time to blog about other things on my three blogs as well, including taking the Ten Bird Meme way too seriously, commenting on a new study about the ecology of Lyme Disease in Parasite of my parasite is not my friend and, as expected, had something clockwise to say in Clock in the primate adrenal.

I hope you have enjoyed the show. If any entries got lost in the mail please let me know ASAP so I can include them. Next edition, two weeks from now, will be hosted by Daniel Morgan over on Get Busy Livin', or Get Busy Bloggin' so get busy bloggin' and sendin' cool science entries to Daniel at: dmorgan AT chem.ufl.edu

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Obligatory Reading of the Day


Politics vs. politics. Rana rocks!

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21st Carnival of Homeschooling: The Map to A Progressive Dinner


The new Carnival of Homeschooling is up on Principled Discovery.

posted by coturnix @ 1:35 PM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Yet another teaching update: mid-term


On Saturday, I taught the Third Lab which went pretty much the same as the last time around, except that this group is so good! They know their animal phyla already!

The bacteria and fungi from the samples from their fingers did not grow (old agar on the plates, I bet), so we did it again with fresh agar and we'll look at the results next time.

The description of leaf stomata as "two Lima beans facing each other" is great for teaching middle school, but it is not exactly a good description. I finally, after many years, realized this and also realized that I am teaching adults, almost all of them parents! So, I told them exactly how it looks like under the microscope - like a vagina (actually vulva, to be anatomically correct). As soon as I told them that, all of them easily found the stomata on their slides.

Last night I taught the fourth lecture. According to the syllabus, I was supposed to drone on about classification of bacteria, and protista, and fungi, and plants, and animals. Bo-rr-ing! So, I did it...five to ten minutes each at the end of the lecture, only as a Coda, perhaps as a brief showcase of examples of diversity.

The lecture itself (and I will post the lecture notes as soon as I finish them) was about the way diversity arises. Thus I talked about the Origin of Life on Earth. I talked about our mental inability to fathom how long 4 billion years really are (and showed them this great animation to illustrate the idea).

Then I drew Gould's "left wall of complexity" graph on the board, and spent some time discussing the evolution of complexity and the blindness of evolution. I talked about the way evolution does not have complexity as a goal, and the way greater complexity can actually make an organism less fit, while a reduction of complexity can turn an organism into a lean, mean evolving machine (or an efficient parasite). This discussion was essential for the next part of the lecture...

....because I discussed the old and new ideas about the early evolution of life and the relationship between Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya (and dismissed briefly, never to mention the terms again - the division into Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes, and the division into six Kingdoms). Of course, I had to mention endosymbiosis as a mechanism as well, but secondary simplification of Bacteria and Archea figures big in the most recent notions about the early evolution of unicellular organisms.

Then I spent the bulk of the lecture talking about the mechanisms by which diversity arises, thus repeating somewhat my evolution lecture of two weeks back, combining it with what I taught about development and the genotype-phenotype mapping, and using PZ's overview of Hox genes and bat development (given as handouts the previous week) to introduce the notion of a developmental toolkit and the greater importance of combinatorics of genes over the sequence of genes. I mentioned (and they love it when they hear about brand new findings in an introductory class) that Cnidarians do not have Hox genes and what that means. And I pounced on the similarities between genes/genomes in widely diverse organisms.

I explained how evolution of adaptation and evolution of diversity go hand in hand. I talked about six ways a genome can change and what it means for evolution of diversity: mutation, rearrangement, gene duplication, chromosome duplication, genome duplication and lateral transfer (both between unicellular organisms and, via viral carriers, between all organisms).

Then, I talked a little bit about the discipline of systematics and how cladistics works. I compared the old morphology-only methods of classification to modern genome-based methods and briefly discussed viruses.

Then, in the end, I spent a little bit of time on each of the major groups, starting with Bacteria, stressing that not all of them are pathogens and dicsussing at length the importance of the bacterial flora in our intestines, using the ecological concepts (e.g., succession) to explain how our intestine is an ecosystem.

For Archea, of course I had to explain what Deinococcus radiodurans is all about and I mentioned that it is only very recently that any Archaean has been implicated in any human pathology, and then only as an enabler, not really a pathogen itself.

I spent even less time on Protists, Fungi and Plants, summarizing only the basics of morphology, taxonomy and evolutionary trends (e.g., from gametophyte to sporophyte dominance in plants).

I spent more time on Animals, though, going into some detail into major transitions in the evolution of animals, e.g., evolution of tissues, evolution of movement, evolution of symmetry (first radial, later bilateral), evolution of psuedocoelom and coelom, the difference between Protostomes and Deuterostomes, and the evolution of segmentation.

When talking about Chordates, I talked about the most recent ideas about their origin, some cute details about lancelets, hagfish, lampreys and fish, about the invasion of land and Tiktaalik, about amphibian and reptilian adaptations to land, about Dinosaurs and the origin of birds, and about evolution of mammals. I told cute stories about the Platypus and the marsupials and the evolution of placenta and mammary glands.

I talked also about some specific cases of recent rearrangements in taxonomy, including the evolution of whales, the relationship between elephants and hyraxes, between Carnivores and Pinnipedieans (seals, etc.) and between rodents and rabbits.

Thanks to science blogs, I am up to date on the most current thinking in all areas of biology, not just in my specialty. It is so cool to talk about such stuff to students in intro classes - they feel privileged to be let in on the secrets of the scientists' kabal! And hopefully, they will click on the links I sent them and become readers of science blogs, get hooked and keep their interest in biology long after the class is over.

Next week is their first exam, followed by four lectures in Human Anatomy and Physiology, which I am going to turn into something more like "Comparative, Evolutionary and Ecological Physiology with the Human Example as a Starting Point". I'll keep you posted on how that goes over the next four weeks.

Previously on this topic:
Teaching Biology To Adults
Teaching Biology without Evolution...
On the Scientific Method in Biology
Teaching the bare bones of Biology
How I Taught Evolution Last Week
Teaching Update

Lecture Notes:
Biology and the Scientific Method
Cell Structure
Protein Synthesis: Transcription and Translation
Cell-Cell Interactions
From One Cell To Two: Cell Division and DNA Replication
From Two Cells To Many: Cell Differentiation and Embryonic Development
From Genes To Traits: How Genotype Affects Phenotype
From Genes To Species: A Primer on Evolution
What Creatures Do: Animal Behavior
Organisms In Time and Space: Ecology

Lab Notes:
Teaching Biology Lab - Week 1
Teaching Biology Lab - Week 2
Teaching Biology Lab - Week 3
Teaching Biology Lab - Week 4

Technorati Tag: teaching-carnival

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Lloyd Bentsen Died


Former Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen Dies

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Grand Rounds, Vol.2, No.35


New edition of Grand Rounds is up on Parallel Universes.

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Tar Heel Tavern - call for submissions


Next Tar Heel Tavern wil be hosted by Erin of Poetic Acceptance. So send her your best of the week.

Let me know if you want to host in the future.

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What?


Bloggers often post about weird Google searches that bring people to their blogs. I have not done that yet, as it is mostly not that exciting or unexpected. But this one really stunned me:

lady castration cutters

It landed the person on a whole month's archive page, not a single post, but still...?! I guess I was writing about ladybugs and leafcutters and perhaps chemical castration by environmental endocrine disruptors out in nature.... WTF!?

posted by coturnix @ 9:13 AM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Rohe


Jean Rohe on Huffington Post

She gets attacked by a McCain aide (Matt Stoller has more info on his shady character).

Jean Rohe responds to the attack.

Publius on Legal Fiction (and again) explains the big picture.

Ezra Klein kinda diasagrees, but then perhaps not.

Amanda makes an important point, as does Lindsay.

Carpetbagger Report chimes in as well.

Update: Glenn Greenwald puts it in a different context, masterfully.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

The power of intelligence in rhetorical fights


How to slam, stab and twist the knife while at the same time regaining your composure, smile and Queen's English - an example: A Randroid Strikes Back

posted by coturnix @ 10:35 AM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Happy Birthday, father of Sherlock Holmes



Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on this day in 1859. Here are some quotes:

# A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to need, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

# As a rule, said Holmes, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.


# It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the more important.

# It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.
# I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
[Of course, I thoroughly disagree with both versions of this one - how else do you do science, or even write an NIH grant proposal?]

# It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.


# It is my duty to warn you that it will be used against you, cried the Inspector, with the magnificent fair play of the British criminal law.


# Mediocrity does not see higher than itself. But talent instantly recognizes the genius.
# No violence, gentlemen - no violence, I beg of you! Consider the furniture!

# The lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.


# There comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.


# You will remember, Watson, how the dreadful business of the Abernetty family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day.


# The most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Teaching Update...


I have posted my lecture notes on Behavior and Ecology....

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Obligatory Reading of the Day


What do you call a Right Wing Christian? What do you call a Right Wing Christian? What do you call a Right Wing Christian, ear-lie in the morning?

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Watership Down, Revisited...


I loved Watership Downs as a kid. I read the whole huge book once in Serbian, once in English. And if you thought that rabbits were cool, you won't be surprised at how unusual they really are. And one day I'll have to write a post about their highly unusual circadian clocks....

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Tar Heel Tavern #65


The new Tar Heel Tavern is up on Ogre's place.

I'll disagree with him on the current state of carnivals - the general-purpose carnivals (like Carnival Of the Vanities) or liberal-bashing hate-fests may be in decline, but specialized carnivals (science, medicine, environment, education, etc.) are growing and thriving.

The next edition of Tar Heel Tavern will be on Poetic Acceptance next week. As usual, we need to line up new hosts for the future, so volunteer at: Coturnix1 AT aol DOT com.

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How many ex-Yugoslavias?


Right now, there are five countries in the place of Yugoslavia: Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia & Montenegro. Considering the very high turnout at today's referendum in Montenegro, there soon may be another split, as Serbia and Montenegro go their separate ways.

Of course, the whole thing is misguided. Just like a division into Red States and Blue States (and you remember some of those "Jesusland" maps right after the last election) is meaningless, the same goes for Yugoslavia.

Splitting along the geographical borders will not accomplish anything, as the quarrel is not really between Serbs and Croats and Bosnian Moslems and Kosovo Albanians and others, but between the modern 21st century worldview held by the people in cities and the backwater medieval worldview of the people in rural areas.

Citizens of Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Novi Sad, Ljubljana, Mostar, Nis, Pristina and Skopje have more in common with each other than each have with people living just a few miles outside of each of those cities. It is a typical division along the city-country or urban-rural or liberal-conservative lines. [Added later in response to some comments on other blogs linking here: It is the rural folks who are tribal and religious and afraid of the "Other". Just like US Christian conservatives in the cornfields of the Midwest are terrified of Islam because they know nothing about it, so the peasants of the Balkans are afraid of each other's religions: the Orthodox detest the Catholic who detest the Moslems, etc., because all they know is what they heard from their priestsand village chiefs. The urban intelligentsia, atheist of course (after 50 years of socialism, can you imagine anything else?), does not think in terms of religion or tribe and has a much more democratic and internationalist outlook.]

Geographical splits will accomplish nothing, as the frontlines will remain WITHIN each of the 5 or 6 mini-nations, yet neither one will have the power of the large state (Yugoslavia as a whole) to be able to successfully deal with such struggles.

Update:
Secessionists are claiming victory. No official results yet.

Update 2: Yup, it appears that there will be six, not five ex-Yugoslavias...

Update 3: So, it is official now. Both Serbia and Montenegro are independent states now.

You can learn more about Montenegro here (that is an official tourist site so everything is rosy) and on Wikipedia, which also has a lot of excellent links to other informative sites.

Montenegro is a tiny place, very mountainous and very beautiful. There is very little arable land, and what there is cannot be processed in agroindustrial manner - you cannot get a combine harvester up the cliffs after all. Thus, the food produced there is as "organic" and healthy as you can think of. There is quite a lot of mineral wealth there which is mined and processed, mainly in the industrial areas surrounding the cities of Podgorica and Niksic. There is otherwise very little industry and thus very little pollution.

The main source of income for Montenegro is tourism and for a good reason. The Adriatic coast there is absolutely gorgeous - if you have money to travel to Europe during summer, it's hard to do better (and cheaper) than spend some time there. The relative intactness of nature, due to rough and inhospitable terrain, is one of the biggest selling points of the country which has touted istelf for more than a decade now as the "first ecological state in the world" and they take environmental protection seriously there.

Socially, this is an extremelly traditional and patriarchal society, but this is changing, leading to some internal tensions. Many Montenegrins have studied at the University of Belgrade (or travelled abroad) and came back home changed (you can say "civilized") about the ways of the world and the modern gender relationships. They clash with their elders and with the people in rural areas who still stick to the old ways. It is mostly the traditionalists who have voted for independence yesterday, I guess, as the more educated people feel, just like citizens of other big cities in the Balkans, as Europeans and as Citizens of the World and not in terms of small local tribal sentiments.

Being mountain folks, Montenegrins are physically huge! They are the tallest ethnic group in Europe (and one of the tallest in the world). Where height, strength and courage count, as in some sports like basketball and karate, the old Yugoslav national teams were almost entirely composed of Montenegrins. The women, also tall and strong, are stunningly beautiful.

From what I gather, the divorce between Serbia and Montenegro will proceed peacefully, with a handshake (just like the independence of Macedonia, the only one where the USA stationed its troops to protect it from....what?). Each will try to gain the entrance into the EU, where, once again, all the ex-Yugoslav states will find themselves together as parts of a bigger unit, trading with each other and enjoying good neighborly relations. So, why a decade of bloodshed and all that secessionism just to reunite again?

posted by coturnix @ 2:44 PM | permalink | (3 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Tangled Bank - last call for submissions


The Tangled Bank

The next edition of Tangled Bank is fast approaching - it will appear right here, on Science and Politics on Wednesday May 24th, very early in the morning. The deadline is 23rd at 8pm ET.

I have only eight entries so far - come on, people! Out of more than 400 science-related blogs I know of, I get only eight posts?

Some carnivals have very strict entry policies - Carnival of Liberals is limited to the 10 best posts, and I And The Bird is limited to one post per blogger.

Some carnivals actively encourage multiple submissions from each blogger, e.g., Teaching Carnival, Circus of the Spineless and Animalcules. Most other carnivals are ambiguous about the rules and it is up to each host to spell those out.

I am one of those hosts who likes big carnivals and encourages multiple entries. So, for this Tangled Bank send your best and your second-best of the past two weeks. If you send me 15 entries, I'll pick 2 or 3 I like the best, but do not be afraid to send in multiple suggestions. Also, you can nominate someone else's post if you think it is really good and deserves a broader audience.

Send your entries to: Coturnix1 AT aol DOT com

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Barbaro and Bernardini


It is funny how some things never go away, like swimming or riding a bycicle. Once you are experienced in watching a horse race, the "feel" for it never leaves you.

I have not been on a racehorse,... heck, not even on a racecourse, in 15 years now. I don't know any US horses until they are announced before the race (back in Yugoslavia, I knew every horse and every person involved, I watched all horses train, I have probably watched their parents and grandparents race, I was 'in' on all the behind-the-scenes gossip, etc).

All I do now is try to watch the three Triple Crown races every year (and I watched the Breeder's Cup once). I missed the Derby two weeks ago, so I made sure I watched the Preakness today, as everyone said that Barbaro was a fantastic horse (which is pretty much how they hype the Derby winner every year, but 6.5 lengths margin of win in the Derby is actually pretty amazing).

I tuned in only about 15 minutes before the starting time, so I could skip all the foolishness of the commentators. I wanted just to see the pre-race parade and the race.

I liked Barbaro - he's a big powerfull horse, but I could not tell much from him just walking around. Then I saw Bernardini and got really excited - that was a look of a champion. If I could bet (and as a judge and a racecourse official I never did bet in my life), I would have put all my money on Bernardini.

I really surprised myself at how good my eye still is. I saw Barbaro go lame on about his second lame step and immediatelly misdiagnosed an injury to the right hind hock, which I changed to right hind ankle as soon as the cameras went back to him and several minutes before anyone got to interview the vet (who was the first one to mention the ankle).

Back to the race itself, I could see that Bernardini was going to win way back when he moved from fourth to third place - he looked fresh and awfully fast and had clear track in front of him while the two horses in front were fussing at each other.

So, again this year, no chance of a Triple Crown. I hope that Barbaro does not have to be put down. His racing days are over, but as a powerful Derby winner with a good pedigree, his career at stud is guaranteed.

Read more here and here.

Update: Barbaro's injuries are much worse than anyone expected - multiple fractures and dislocations. He is in surgery as we speak and they are trying to patch him up well enough so that he can walk comfortably in the future and will not have to be put down. Let's hope that they are successful.

Update 2: After a seven-hour surgery, it appears that Barbaro is OK and will live.

Update 3: If you want to get a lot of detail from someone who really knows racing inside out, check out Left At The Gate blog and a whole series of posts there.

posted by coturnix @ 7:47 PM | permalink | (4 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Data on blogs


Here is a recent example of placing pilot data and hypotheses on a blog, asking readers for help and comments - on BioCurious blog.

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Ruchira Paul becomes an exhibitionist!


Go and see her art that she exhibited on her blog.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Ark


Friday Ark #87 is up on The Modulator - you can keep sending your entries for another day or two...

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

'Sex And War' mystery resolved.


The mystery has been solved. Stan Goff did the right thing and published his book on Lulu.com instead of with a traditional publisher. Now, instead of Amazon.com, you go here, right now, and order one copy for yourself, and prove that this business model works!

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An inspiring story from Duke


Patient's Family Says 'Thank You' For Saving Life
DURHAM, N.C. -- For three years, Ara Everett has been treated for Stage 4 breast cancer and a brain tumor. But she has survived longer than she and her family ever expected.
They give the credit to Dr. Heather Shaw, an oncologist at Duke University Medical Center.
Everett's daughter, Erica Green, wrote to NBC17 to ask Triangle Wishes to honor Shaw and the medical staff that have provided such personal care for her mother.
"How do you say thank you to doctors, the people that save your life?" Green wrote in her e-mail. "We hear all of the bad stuff about doctors these days. It's time to thank them for the awesome work they do to benefit so many."
Triangle Wishes arranged for Piper's Tavern to provide a luncheon for Shaw and the Oncology Department staff at the Duke Medical Center.
-------------------------
You can watch the video of this story here.

posted by coturnix @ 7:41 PM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Ted Kennedy blogging


Senator Ted Kennedy guest-blogs on John Edwards' blog. Some guys get it - both the power of the Internet and the importance of raising the minimum wage - and find the way to put the two together.

posted by coturnix @ 7:40 PM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Building local communities on newspaper blogs


There is an interesting new study of the way Greensboro News & Record blogs build a sense of community, which in turn, draws more people to read the newspaper. The PDF of the actual study is here.

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Animalcules 1.8


The new edition of Animalcules is up on Aetiology. Nice to see how this carnival is growing in size (as well as quality, I'd say).

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On Framing, yet again


Thereisnospoon gets it. The post is cross-posted as a DailyKos Diary, so you can see how many of the 518 comments are misguided. Also, check the Swords Crossed post that started it all. Finally, go over to Pandagon to see how well Amanda gets it, yet many commenters do not.

Did the Righties redefine (reframe?) the entire concept of "framing" to make it unpallatable to the Left, in hope that the Left will not understand what the Right is doing, even less use the same strategy?

If people would just read Lakoff's Moral Politics, instead of his lousy "Elephant" booklet or Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas" (you can start with the Wikipedia entry), we would not have this discussion over and over again, as people would understand what framing is all about and we will be using this insight and knowledge to frame our messages and to undermine the Rightwing strategy.

Instead of reading Daily Kos or other traditional Democratic operatives, read bloggers who understand, like Revere of Effect Measure (check the links to his 18-post series on Lakoff on his left sidebar). Or Chris of Mixing Memory: check his more recent articles on the topic, or, perhaps even more importantly, his older stuff.

Or go to the sidebar of my blog and click on Best Politics Posts link where I collected posts that take Lakoff as the starting point. Or visit the deep, wise archives of The Frameshop or spend some time digging around the Rockridge Institute website.

There, you now have enough links to occupy your attention for a week, so go ahead, leave this blog and do some reading.

posted by coturnix @ 10:28 AM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink



Project Exploration


You may have noticed a new button on my sidebar that looks like this:
Project Exploration

If you click on it, you will be transported to the homepage of one of my favourite science educational programs - the Project Exploration. This project is the brainchild of paleontologist Paul Sereno and his wife, historian and educator Gabrielle Lyons.

If you do not know who Paul Sereno is, you are probably not interested in dinosaurs at all, as he is the #1 Big Star of Dinosaur Paleontology.

Among else, he has discovered Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, one of the largest dinosaur carnivores - the African version of T.rex. Jobaria tiguidensis is the best preserved skeleton of a long-necked dinosaur. Sarcosuchus imperator, better known as Supercroc was big enough crocodile to hunt and eat dinosaurs. He has also discovered Eoraptor lunensis and Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, two of the oldest dino fossils belonging to some of the earliest dinosaurs. Deltadromeus agilis, discovered by Gabrielle Lyons, was one of the fastest dinosaurs ever.


I had a good fortune to see Sereno give a talk and briefly to introduce myself to him, at the 2000 meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Chicago. My brother knows him much better, as he and Gabrielle knew each other from grad school. Thanks to their friendship I got, over the years, a bunch of informational materials from the Project Exploration, as well as some really cool stuff, like some Sahara sand, a small plant fossil and several T-shirts that you cannot buy - they are not for sale.




One day when I get out of financial problems, I will make it an annual ritual to donate to their program, devoted to bringing excitement about science to inner-city schoolchildren, particularly minorities and girls. In the meantime, I hope that you donate. They do not take any money from the government and depend on individual donations for their operation. You can donate your money, or alternatives (stocks, time, work), easily through their website.

So, click on the button now, or whenever you want in the future, to see what they are doing, to get help if you are a science teacher, or to donate to a worthy cause.

Update: Tara reminds me that it may be important to show you their financial report, as well as the outcomes of their work:
Our programs are creating pipelines to future careers in science:

* Students participating in our field programs are graduating high school at an 18% higher rate than their peers.
* Students are pursuing science in college—25% of all students and 34% of our girls declare science as their major.
* The girls in our programs are pursuing science in college at five times the national average.

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